5 Ways to Protect Your Skin from the Sun this Summer

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1. USE SUNCREEN REGULARLY

Exposure to ultraviolet (UV) radiation is a major risk factor for most skin cancers, and sunlight is the main source of UV rays, according to the American Cancer Society.

“People of all skin colors can get skin cancer and need to protect their skin from UV radiation,” said Dr. Tawnya Bowles, a surgical oncologist and skin cancer expert at Intermountain Medical Center. “Wearing protective clothing and using sunscreen will be your best defense.”

Choosing the right sunscreen may seem harder than you think. Experts recommend sunscreen that is SPF30 and broad-spectrum (UVA/UVB protection). Sunscreen needs to be applied 30 minutes before going outside and re-applied every two hours. If you have swimming on your agenda, be sure to use water-resistant sunscreen and reapply when you get out of the water. 

2. WEAR A HAT

In addition to sunscreen, there are also clothing items that provide protection. Wear a wide-brimmed hat, sunglasses, and long-sleeved shirt/pants when possible. UPF clothing provides additional protection from the sun.

3. SEEK SHADE

When outdoors, seek shade when possible. Standing under a tree, awning, or using an umbrella limits your direct exposure to the sun.  

4. AVOID THE SUN BETWEEN 10 a.m. and 2 p.m.

The strength of the damaging UV rays is based on various factors, including time of day, altitude and reflective surfaces. Utah’s high elevation makes the summer months more dangerous, contributing to the fact that Utah has one of the highest rates of skin cancer in the nation.

Avoid being out in the sun between the hours of 10 am and 2 pm, when the sun’s rays are the strongest.  

5. AVOID TANNING BEDS

A 2014 study estimated that more than 400,000 cases of skin cancer may be related to indoor tanning in the United States each year.  About 32 percent of girls in the 12th grade report indoor tanning, according to a separate study.

“Research has shown that tanning beds cause skin cancer, especially when people start tanning at young ages,” said Dr Bowles. “People who use tanning beds before age 30 increase their lifetime risk of melanoma, which is the deadliest form of skin cancer, by 75 percent. Indoor tanning is an unnecessary risk about should be avoided.”

Experts also encourage everyone to regularly examine your skin from head to toe, and if you notice any abnormal growth or discoloration on your skin, to check with your doctor. The earlier skin cancer is detected, the more treatable it is.

Below is an interview with Dr Tawnya Bowles on ABC4 Utah about these five tips.